We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

Edited by Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson:

Foreword by Ashley Bryan

Over 50 voices use art, essays, letters, poems and stories to share words and images of encouragement, inspiration, support and love with young readers in today's troubled environment. Contributors include Arnold Adoff, Kwame Alexander, Jabari Asim, Stephanie Berger, Tonya Bolden, Roy Boney, Jr., Vanessa BrantleyNewton, Tameka Fryer Brown, Joseph Bruchac, Ashley Bryan, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Evelyn Coleman, Floyd Cooper, Nina Crews, Pat Cummings, Nancy Devard, Sharon M. Draper, Zetta Elliott, Margarita Engle, Zamani Feelings, Sharon G. Flake, Bernette G. Ford, George Ford, Laura Freeman, Chester Higgins, Jr., Ekua Holmes, Cheryl Willis Hudson,  Curtis Hudson, Stephan J. Hudson, Wade Hudson, Hena Khan, Rafael López, Kelly Starling Lyons, Tony Medina, Mansa K. Mussa, Innosanto Nagara, Marilyn Nelson, Ellen Oh, Denise Lewis Patrick, Andrea Pippins, James E. Ransome, Jason Reynolds, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Edel Rodriguez, Charles R. Smith, Jr., Javaka Steptoe, Eleanora E. Tate, Eric Velasquez, Carole Boston Weatherford, Jeffery B. Weatherford, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Jacqueline Woodson,

Release Date: September 4, 2018

Ages 8-12, Grades 3-6, Hardcover, 96 pages, full color





An anthology of poetry, essays, short stories and art designed to lift children up, especially children from traditionally marginalized communities, during difficult times.

This collection encourages America’s children to remember their history, learn from it, and choose to be kind in the face of hatred, racism, and oppression. “Throughout history, kids like you / were right there. / With picket signs and petitions…. They changed this world for the better. / And you will too,” Kelly Starling Lyons tells readers in her poem “Drumbeat for Change.” Featuring contributions from such writers as Jacqueline Woodson, Ellen Oh, and Hena Khan, and an equally august lineup of illustrators, including Rafael López, Vanessa Brantley-Newton, and Javaka Steptoe, every work packs an emotional punch. In his poem “A Thousand Winters,” Kwame Alexander wonders “if words, sentences, and books aren’t enough, anymore” as he reflects on the state of the world and hard conversations with his daughter. A stunning collage by Ekua Holmes accompanies Alexander’s poem; in it, a vivid, violet sky surrounds a sleepy black girl sitting atop her father’s shoulders. Every work in this beautiful collection feels personal and is meant to inspire and comfort.

A love song from children’s literature’s brightest stars to America’s Indigenous children and children of color, encouraging them to be brave and kind. (contributor biographies, index)



Wade and Cheryl Willis Hudson, founders of Just Us Books, offer this empowering anthology to counter today’s often-unsettling political climate for children of varying ethnicities, faiths, identities, and abilities. The husband-and-wife team present 30 illustrated essays, poems, stories, and letters from more than 50 diverse children’s book creators. Contributions aim to calm, sustain, and inspire children. In “A Talkin’-To,” Jason Reynolds reassures readers that “everything bad and frightening and loud/ will always hide when you hold your head up, / will always hide when you hold your heart out.” Hena Khan’s essay urges Muslim children to educate others about their heritage, and several authors draw on personal lessons from the civil rights movement. Photographs of children and illustrations in a variety of styles, from collage to realistic pastels, warm the pages with colorful imagery. A lengthy end section about the contributors concludes this hope-engendering treasury that truly is, as its foreword states, “a resource for rescue from any pitfalls of the day.” Ages 8–12. (Sept.)



Within these pages is the collected wisdom from dozens of writers and artists who share poems, advice, artwork, passion, concern, love, and experience with the next generation. In the introduction, the editors describe this book as a treasury for children to read, and reread, when they need a boost, or comfort, or love. Every turn of the page is a new and different experience; the tone of the book moves seamlessly from joyful to somber to curious, and inspired, offering children of many different ages a place to land and learn, and find their own lives reflected back at them. Jacqueline Woodson writes a letter to her children about the importance of being kind; Carole Boston Weatherford explores the universality of the golden rule; Tony Medina describes a young girl’s despair as her father is taken by immigration officials. The entries are as varied as they are important, working as independent way stations on a map to broader understanding. Beautiful, haunting, and electrifying artwork from familiar names and relative newcomers in children’s literature fill the pages, including illustrations from artists such as Innosanto Nagara, Ekua Holmes, and Eric Velasquez that dance among the essays, poems, and letters. VERDICT This is a book to be quietly contemplated, and shared with an adult, as there is much to be discovered from multiple readings. Addressing complex topics with sensitivity and candor, this a necessary purchase for all libraries serving children. –Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA


The results of the November 2016 national election in the United States left millions of parents and children terrified about what would happen next. The triumph of a candidate and party that ran on an explicitly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and racist campaign—one that pledged to strip the rights of LGBTQ+ and disabled persons as well—implied great danger for those targeted.
A number of anthologies to offer comfort, hope, and inspiration for future social justice activism emerged from this election. Edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, is a standout among these for a number of reasons. One is that the included writers and illustrators come from groups that have been targeted and groups that have faced past oppression. They are elders with words of wisdom drawn from personal experience: African-American veterans of the civil rights movement, children of immigrants, Native American writers and artists and others who broke into a previously closed publishing industry by founding small presses and self-publishing. Another difference is the sheer variety of creative work showcased in this anthology—poetry, short stories, autobiographical essays, letters to children and grandchildren, photographs, and illustrations in various styles and media. In addition, the book is directed to younger children, those in elementary school, with an approach that is both reassuring and empowering. The authors take on the role of trusted adult, letting young readers know that they are loved, that their ancestors have survived terrible times in the past and, working together, we will survive and overcome our current struggles as well.
Many of the authors write about growing up under Jim Crow and seeing the changes with the civil rights movement. Some counsel self-care and self-preservation because a family’s love is most important of all; for instance, Sharon M. Draper’s poem “Prayers of the Grandmother” contains the refrain, “Stay safe, my child, she’d whisper. / Come home to me each night.” Bernette G. Ford, Lesa Cline Ransome, and Sharon G. Flake name the civil rights heroes, known and unknown, who serve as models and inspiration for young people today. Eleanora E. Tate and Roy Boney, Jr. describe how they overcame prejudice and a canon of stereotypes to tell their authentic stories. A number of authors offer advice on confronting bullies and bigotry and channeling anger into more productive pursuits. Yet others stress our common humanity as a means of reaching out to others and knowing that each one of us is valued no matter what some leaders and their followers may say. No one underplays the challenges or difficulties of the current situation but all counsel belief in ourselves, working with others, and having the patience of one who, as Margarita Engle writes in “I Wonder,” “plant[s] / many seedlings anyway, so that by the time/I’m old, a whole forest will wave/happy branches.”
We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices is an essential title for elementary-age children as well as their teachers and caregivers. - Lynn Miller Lachmann





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We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices
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